About us

Welcome to the premier Overcoming Barriers Consultation Service. Here is our team of expert MHP and attorneys.

Robin M. Deutsch, Ph.D., ABPP

Dr. Robin Deutsch provides consultation, mediation, parenting coordination, expert witness services, and has an independent practice in Newton, MA. She is Board certified in Couple and Family Psychology, serving as President of the American Board of Couple and Family Psychology in 2021 and 2022. She developed and was the director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law and the Certificate in Child and Family Forensic Issues at William James College, where she is a Professor (ret.) in the Clinical Psychology department. Previously she was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and for over 20 years Director of Training and Forensic Services in the Children and the Law Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a cofounder of Overcoming Barriers, an organization that provides family-centered services for families in conflict. Dr. Deutsch teaches throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and has published extensively on issues related to parent-child contact problems, attachment, co-parenting after divorce, high conflict divorce, parenting plans, and parenting coordination. She is the co-author of 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You: and How to Talk about Them Anyway (Ballantine, 2005, 2011) and co-editor with Abigail Judge of the book Overcoming Parent-Child Contact Problems: Family-Based Interventions for Resistance, Rejection, Alienation (Oxford, 2016).

Dr. Deutsch currently serves as Chair of the American Psychological Association (APA) working group to Review Scientific Literature Regarding High Conflict Family Relationships with Child Involvement. She was the 2002-2003 President of the Massachusetts chapter of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), 2008-2009 President of AFCC, the former Chair of the APA Ethics Committee (2007). She served on the AFCC task force that developed Guidelines for Examining Intimate Partner Violence, the American Psychological Association (APA) task force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators (2011), the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Task Force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators (2006), and the AFCC Task force that developed Guidelines for Court Involved Therapists (2010). She is a fellow of APA, 2006 recipient of the American Psychological Association Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy, the 2017 recipient of the Massachusetts Psychological Association Kenneth D. Herman, Ph.D. J.D. Career Contribution Award, and the 2018 recipient of the AFCC John E. Van Duzer Distinguished Service Award.

Marcy A. Pasternak, Ph.D.

Dr. Marcy Pasternak is a Clinical and Forensic psychologist who practices in Watchung, N.J. She obtained her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Duke University and is licensed in NJ, NY and VT. She has an APA Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol or Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders and an NCC AP Master Addiction Counselor Credential. While her practice serves individuals of all ages in both the clinical and forensic arena, her special interests include marital and family therapy, divorce therapy, forensic evaluations concerning custody and parenting time, removal, parent-child contact problem, grandparent visitation, risk assessment, and personal injury. She often serves as a parenting coordinator, parenting coach, and is also an accredited divorce mediator, conducting both divorce mediation and therapeutic mediation. She conducts multi-day Intensive Family Interventions through “Building Family Resilience”, an outgrowth of her practice. These interventions are for families in which a child resists contact with a parent.

Dr. Pasternak has served as a psychological expert throughout New Jersey. She was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ. She is the past President of the NJ chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and has given numerous workshops and presentations to the mental health and legal communities in New Jersey and nationally.

Margaret Peggie Ward

Peggie Ward, PhD, is a clinical-forensic psychologist and Overcoming Barriers.org co-founder who has specialized in the areas of child sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, and parent child contact problems for 35 years. Her current work focuses on the impact of adverse childhood experiences and trauma on high conflict families, parent-child contact difficulties due to separation and divorce and how to establish improved judicial experiences for these vulnerable individuals and families.

Dr. Ward serves on the Board of Directors of Florida AFCC, the Advisory Counsel for Overcoming Barriers.org. She is a member of the FLAFCC Intake Task Force. She has published articles in the NH Bar Journal and in the AFCC Journal, Family Court Review, on the topic of parent child contact problems and presents nationally and internationally. Dr. Ward contributed portions of six chapters to Overcoming Parent-Child Contact Problems: Family-Based Interventions for Resistance, Rejection and Alienation (Oxford University Press, 2016). She is the Course Developer of two professional continuing education courses (William James College) teaching best practices of work in high conflict divorce/separation where children resist or reject contact with a parent. She is a frequent independent reviewer in psychology board complaints as well as an expert witness in family law matters.

Her website is: https://peggiewardphd.com

Sharon Ryan Montgomery PsyD

Sharon Ryan Montgomery, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Morristown, New Jersey. Dr. Montgomery completed her doctorate in psychology from Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1982. Her areas of expertise are in Clinical and Forensic Psychology. She has lectured extensively at the National and International Child Abuse Conferences, the Association of Family and Conciliation Court Nationally and the New Jersey AFCC Chapter, American Psychological Association, and the New Jersey Psychological Association. She has also presented at the New Jersey’s Institute for Continuing Education and at the NJ Judicial College, Judges Retreat and for the newly appointed judges. She also serves as a Forensic Evaluator in the family, civil and criminal courts; Individual, Couples, Family and Reconciliation Therapist; as well as Parenting Coordinator, Mediator, Divorce Coach and supervises other psychologists. Dr. Montgomery also provides intensive therapy workshops/weekends for families in which a child is refusing contact with a parent through the Building Family Resilience Program, and was a clinician at Overcoming Barriers Camp. Dr. Montgomery is Past President of the New Jersey Psychological Association, the New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Human Services Association of Morris County, and the Morris County Psychological Association.

Leslie Drozd, Ph.D.

Dr. Drozd is a licensed psychologist and works clinically and forensically with families in the various stages of divorce including families with parent-child contact problems, coparenting therapy, family therapy, reintegration therapy, and parent coordination.
She has been a child custody evaluator for over 37 years, trains other evaluators, serves as a consultant to attorneys, and as a testifying expert in family law matters. She helped write the Association of Family Conciliation Courts Model Standards for conducting child custody evaluations (2006) and guidelines for parenting plan evaluations involving allegations of domestic violence (2016). 

She has written a myriad of peer-reviewed articles including Is It Abuse, Alienation, and/or Estrangement (2004), Adaptive and Maladaptive Gatekeeping Behaviors and Attitudes: Implications for Child Outcomes After Separation and Divorce (2017). Dr. Drozd was the founding editor of the peer-reviewed international Journal of Child Custody (2004-2013), is currently on the editorial board of Family Court Review, has co-edited books on relocation, psychological testing, and child sexual abuse, and has written chapters on domestic violence, treatment of trauma, alienation, step-up parenting plans, and family therapy with families in which a child resists or refuses contact including a Professional Resource Press Book, Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations: Using Decision Trees to Increase Evaluator Competence & Avoid Preventable Errors (2013) and Oxford University Press books, Parenting Evaluations: Applied Research for Family Court (2012, 2016, & an upcoming volume to be published in 2024). She is a co-editor of a Family Court Review special issue on Intimate Partner Violence: Parenting, Coparenting, & the Effects on Children. Dr. Drozd is a coauthor of Substance Use Disorders: A Primer For Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (2014), Intimate Partner Violence & Parenting Coordination: Risks & Benefits (2020), Trauma-Informed Interventions in Parent-Child Contact Cases (2020), Trauma and Child Custody Disputes: Screening, Assessment and Interventions (2019), and Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence & Child Custody (2019). She received the Association of Family and Conciliation Court’s John E. Van Duzer distinguished service award in 2013.

Shawn McCall, PsyD, Esq.

Shawn McCall, PsyD, Esq. is an attorney and psychologist who is in the trenches and has been active in the psychological and legal communities with professional leadership, writing, and presentations. Dr. McCall has provided clinical, forensic, expert, and consultation services to criminal, family, civil, and dependency courts, and he has represented clients in family, dependency, and municipal courts.

John A. Moran, PhD

John A. Moran, PhD served as the clinical director of three OCB family camps.

In addition to writing book chapters and journal articles, he coauthored two book on Resist Refuse problems: Overcoming the Coparenting Trap: Essential Skills When a Child Resists a Parent; and, Overcoming the Alienation Crisis: 33 Coparenting Solutions.

Applying forgiveness interventions to parent-child contact problems is his current practice focus. More information is available at moranphd.com

Louise Truax, JD

Attorney Truax practices law in Connecticut and is a principal at Reich & Truax, PLLC. She is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, serving as National CLE Chair and Treasurer. She was awarded the prestigious Fellow of the Year from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2014. She is on the Board and past President of Overcoming Barriers. She frequently lectures on financial and custodial issues in Connecticut and the United States. Through Overcoming Barriers, she has participated in many “OCB to Go” programs in many states.